New England Playaz captured Gold at Big Apple
They may be from New England but the Playaz came to New York and walked away as the big champions this week, winning not just the u17 Platinum Division but also the u16 Gold bracket.
Rising sophomore Chris Camille stood out as not just a player who was already impactful at a young age, but also one who has the upside to continue taking his game to new levels. He was making athletic plays around both rim, attacking the basket, blocking shots, flying around the court in the open floor and even knocking down some jumpers.
Calvin Whipple has provided veteran stability for this club all season long with his strength and shot-making but the emergence of Tyler Aronson has been a big boost as well as he's made shots and heady plays alike on a consistent basis. Add 2019 guard Noah Fernandes to the mix, as a youngster who can already produce against players two or three years his senior, and there's a talented backcourt in place here.
Metro Boston had an inpsired run of their own, advancing all the way to the finals before falling to the Playaz. Tyrone Weeks was the big man in the middle, asserting himself on both ends and proving to be a big man worth watching in the coming years. His presence inside combined with the backcourt of Shemar Moore and Jayden Depina gives this Metro Boston squad some true inside-out balance.
Here's a look at others who impressed at the Big Apple Summer Showcase:
- Thomas Shaughnessy spent time playing up with the 17u squad but this rising junior continued to impress. He's as tough of a competitor as you'll find and was able to raise the level of his game to make big shots offensively, including a three-point to force overtime on Thursday, and come up with crucial stops on the defensive end. We'd also be remiss if we didn't recognize the strides that Tommy ONeil has made in recent months. A skilled lefty who has gotten back to being efficient and tough, he's improving at a more consistent rate than he has yet at the high school level and finally showing that inside-out productivity that we've been waiting for.
- The New England Playaz 2019 class is another one to be reckoned with. Daniel Schlakman continues to grow and emerge inside while providing maturity beyond his years and a developing inside-out skill set.
- The Rens 2019 class was no less impressive. Alejandro Vasquez landed his first division I offer from Iona while Cardinal Hayes' guard Joe Toussant already has the ball on a string and one of the best handles you'll find.
- The CM3 16u team proved to be one to be reckoned with as well, scoring a dramatic OT win on Thursday. Brandon Redendo continued to be a primary playmaker from this club and both scored the ball himself and set-up his teammates.
- Evo's Craig Preston was one of the biggest break-outs in the Gold division. The 2017 guard is skilled, fundamentally sound and definitely an emerging priority for academic schools. Jonathan Mola was a solid contributor as well. He played bigger than his size on the glass, was able to slice his way to the rim by utilizing a patented spin move and defend multiple positions.
- JB Hoops' 2019 sniper Leo O'Boyle is definitely a division I prospect to watch. The rising sophomore already stands 6-foot-7 inches off the ground and projects as a stretch-four man with one of the prettiest jumpers there was to find in the gold division.
- Evan Schumer was an offensive spark-plug for Uptown's Finest, pacing them throughout the day on Thursday and proving his experience and leadership in the backcourt.
- A.J. Morales was a steady contributor for the Long Island Lightning and stood out as a prospect that local college coaches should familiarize themselves with sooner rather than later.